Briefing: EU Mobility Package III including new vehicle safety standards

  • May 18, 2018

On 17 May 2018, the European Commission published a large package of transport policy proposals known as the ‘Third Mobility Package’ including some very significant measures to improve road safety in the European Union.

25,300 people died on EU roads in 2017, a figure that has hardly budged in four years. The road safety package should help substantially reduce this figure if combined with efforts at national and local level.

The main elements include:

  1. Safer cars, vans, lorries and buses

The EU has the exclusive authority to set minimum safety standards for all new vehicles sold on the EU market.  These standards were last updated in 2009.  The revision of the “General Safety Regulation” includes a set of new vehicle safety measures, including mandatory installation of new driver assistance technologies, as well as revised minimum crash testing standards and measures to protect pedestrians and cyclists.  The measures are expected to come into force from 2020 onwards.

ETSC supports all of these measures, in particular those with the most potential to reduce death and injury such as overridable Intelligent Speed Assistance (ISA) and Automated Emergency Braking (AEB). Both of these technologies are already widely available on the market but regulation is needed to make sure the benefits are extended to all new vehicles as standard.

According to analysis carried out for the European Commission by TRL, the UK transport research laboratory, the proposed vehicle safety measures could prevent 24,794 deaths across all vehicle categories between 2022 and 2037. See page 13 of

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What is Intelligent Speed Assistance (ISA)?
ETSC is calling for ISA systems that use a sign-recognition video camera and a GPS-linked speed limit database to help drivers keep to the current speed limit. Such a system will limit engine power when necessary to help prevent the driver from exceeding the current speed limit. The system can be overridden, or temporarily switched off.  As well as improving road safety, reducing emissions and saving fuel, the system can help drivers avoid speeding fines. Carmakers including Ford, Honda, Jaguar-Land Rover, Mercedes, Opel-Vauxhall, Peugeot-Citroen, Renault, and Volvo already offer ISA either as standard or as an option on selected models.  Read more…

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For further information:

ETSC short briefing on the General Safety Regulation:

ETSC Intelligent Speed Assistance (ISA): explanatory video, list of current models fitted with ISA and a list of main questions and answers on the technology:

European Commission legislative proposal:

European Commission factsheet on safe mobility

  1. New EU targets to reduce deaths and serious injuries

Despite a recent slow-down in progress, the EU has successfully reduced road deaths from more than 50,000 annually in 2001 to less than 26,000 in 2017.  On 17 May, the Commission published a Strategic Action Plan on Road Safety that includes a new long-term target to halve road deaths by 2030 as well as, for the first time, a target to reduce serious injuries by the same amount.

EU Member States called for such targets last year in the Valetta Declaration on road safety, following years of campaigning by road safety and victims groups:

For further information:

ETSC briefing on the 5th EU Road Safety Action Programme 2020-2030:

European Commission: Strategic Action Plan on Road Safety:

European Commission factsheet on safe mobility

  1. Improved standards for road infrastructure safety

Major motorways in Europe are currently subject to safety requirements under the road and tunnel infrastructure safety management directives.  The proposal to revise this legislation includes a call for the rules to be extended beyond the EU TEN-T road network. ETSC says all major motorways and main roads in the EU should be covered in the future.

The existing rules include requirements for regular road safety audits and inspections with a focus on taking measures to reduce the number of high risk sites.  Extending these measures to the rest of the EU road network is expected to make a significant contribution to road safety.

For further information:

ETSC briefing on the revision of the road infrastructure safety management directive:

European Commission legislative proposal:

European Commission factsheet on safe mobility

  1. Automated driving strategy

Recent crashes involving prototype automated vehicles have highlighted an enormous range of issues that need to be resolved before vehicles that can drive themselves are approved for general use.  The Commission has published a strategy paper that gives an outline of its plans for automated cars.

In the short term, ETSC is calling for more transparency and more robust analysis of the safety risks of automated technologies that are already being approved for sale via exemptions to the current EU vehicle type approval process.

For further information:

ETSC report: Prioritising the Safety Potential of Automated Driving Europe

ETSC’s letter to the European Commission calling for transparency over exemptions to the vehicle type approval process.

European Commission strategy paper on automated driving:

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